Don't own Naruto.
Disclaimer: Hi, this is my first attempt at writing a fan fiction. Any type of comments accepted.
Character's thoughts in Italics
Chapter 1: Problems
As her deft fingers performed the last few chords, gracefully, she rose from the high-back, velvet–upholstered chair and bowed deeply. Her face hidden behind a silky curtain of soft, pastel pink tresses.
Straightening herself again, a pair of dazzling green almonds stared back at the now applauding diners. Those green depths held wisdom and maturity. Perhaps beyond her tender years. Light bounced off her porcelain skin, smooth and flawless as the finest China. Rosy, well-defined lips curving upwards into a half-smile, a satisfied and happy one.
Stuffing the month's salary into her wallet, she bade farewell to the kind elderly woman who sat placidly in her small office behind an old, battered desk. Trudging out of the cozy little restaurant, green orbs peered down at her right arm.
6:30 huh, looks like there's still enough time left for me to grab a quick bite.
"Obaa-san, can I have 3 pieces of tempura and 5 sticks of unagi please. Oh, and please wrap them up, I'm taking them away, arigatou."
The last of the Sun's rays washed over the top parts of the buildings and cast a warm orange glow over the landscape. It reflected off the glass windows and finally, illuminating a lone figure, one slender hand grasping onto the handles of her tote bag, another cradling a small paper parcel. Pink tresses flowing freely in the light evening breeze.
Damn, I must hurry before getting berated by that bossy pig again. She hastened her pace and soon arrived in front of a plain birch door.
She tapped on it loudly, seeing no response, she tapped on it again, louder this time.
"Hey, open the door. I'm back!"
After what seemed like forever, the door slowly creaked open, revealing a pair of bright cerulean eyes, heavily outlined with kohl liner and surrounded by patches of glittering eye shadow. Sleek blond hair secured behind by a series of bobby pins to form an intricate coiffure. Her skimpy dress clung onto her like a second layer of skin.
"Oh, it's just you, forehead-girl…" the blond's face fell upon seeing the person at the door is none other than her pink-hair roommate.
"God, Ino-pig, what happened! You look like a complete fashion disaster! Don't tell me you're considering the job prospect of prostitution or bar top dancing!" Green orbs widened considerably upon seeing her friend's 'exotic' getup.
"WHO ARE YOU CALLING A FASHION DISASTER! Maybe you're just jealous I look waaayy better than you. Muaahaahahaha! Prostitution! You can't be serious. Nah, I'm waiting for my sweet darling to arrive and YOU have to come and spoil this wonderful tension. Really, Sakura, you……WHAT!"
Ino looked nonplussed at the small paper parcel that landed suddenly in her wildly flailing hands.
"It's your favorite, pig. Take the unagi out and leave the tempura for me."
"Ahhh… Sakura-chan, I love you!" Ino's eyes instantly lit up like a child upon being given an ice-cream cone.
Phew, nice way to shut Ino up. Sakura grinned amusedly as she whizzed past into her room, leaving her best friend and rival, who is busily occupying herself with the exciting new task of filling her stomach.
As she slumped onto the small bed with plain white sheets, her smiling face is immediately replaced by a tiny frown which slightly distorted her beautiful face.
Green orbs stared blankly at the white-washed ceiling. Roaming aimlessly about the white space, as though desperately trying to grasp onto something.
Her mind wandered over to the events of that day:
: Flashback :
"Tsunade-san, what is the matter?" Sakura sat herself comfortably in front of the older woman and flashed a warm smile at her.
Hmm… It is rather unusual for Tsunade-san to call employees into her office unless it is really necessary. I wonder what has happened.
Tsunade let out a tired sigh before proceeding on with the purpose of their meeting.
"Sakura-san… I understand, it must have been hard. Studying and working here at the same time. However, I'm very sorry, to announce that this restaurant will be closed by the end of this week. Due to the rise of certain……umm, rather complicated events."
She paused momentarily to nudge a large brown envelope in the direction of her shocked employee.
"Therefore, this will be your last day of work here. I really appreciated all your efforts all this time, I mean it. You played the harp beautifully, all our customers loved your playing. But… sometimes, things don't always turn out quite the way we want them to. I apologize that this has happened at such an in convenient time. Here, this envelope contains this and next month's salary. I've included your bonus too, so that it can at least, hopefully, sustain your study expanses for a longer time."
Pale fingers closed around the slightly bulging package.
Recovering from her initial shock, Sakura managed to squeeze a small smile onto her face.
"It's alright, Tsunade-san. You've already done so much for me over the course of these few years. You have no idea how grateful I am for all your kindness, and for letting me have this job in the first place. Erm… I just want to say thank you, for everything."
With that, she rose from her seat and was prepared to go when Tsunade's voice called out to her.
"Wait, Sakura, you know…… you've always been like a younger sibling to me. So, if you're facing any difficulties, just give me a call, you know my number."
: Flashback ends :
A small sigh escaped the cherry lips. Jade orbs now closed tightly, as if their owner has been drained of all her energy reminiscing about the past.
How am I going to pay off the rental fees? More importantly, how am I going to continue my studies at the music conservatory? I really love playing the harp…… I don't want to give my studies up so easily…… I must think of a way… think, think……
"SAKURA!" The door burst open suddenly, Ino stood there, grinning like a Cheshire cat. Her arms wound tightly around a guy's shoulders.
"FOR GOD'S SAKE, INO, why do you have to make grand entrances at the most inappropriate of all times. Thanks, I've now totally lost track of my train of thoughts." Sakura managed to direct a piercing glare at the intruder.
"Oops, sorry about that, forehead-girl. Anyway, dear Shika-kun has just received his salary and he said he'll take me to the Uchiha Hotel for a big dinner treat!"
"Ino, when did I say… OUCH!"
Shikamaru's face instantly contorted into pain as he tried to restrain himself from crying out loud, with Ino's 6-inch high stilettos crushing down on his now throbbing foot.
"So? What's the fuss about?" Sakura cocked an inquiring eyebrow at her ecstatic friend.
"WHAT! You haven't even heard of the famous Uchiha Hotel? Seriously, Sakura, you need to get a life, away from all those studies and music scores, once and for all. At this rate, you're never going to get laid. You'll probably still be an old virgin at the age of 60, with only an ancient harp and some tattered scores to accompany you to your grave. Anyway, back to the subject, you really have no idea how prestigious and sought after the Uchiha Hotel is, don't you? I've read in the magazines that lots of celebrities frequent that place, and it employs only the best gourmet chefs in the world! God, I've been wanting to go there like…forever!"
As Ino finished her long speech, she dragged Sakura from the bed and started to march out of the room.
"He…hey! Pig, where are you taking me?"
"Why, of course you're coming along with us! You need to socialize, for heavens sake! I don't want you to die lonely and unwanted."
"Gee, thanks a lot Ino, you made me feel so much better." Sakura mumbled sarcastically, a slight twitch apparent at her temples.
"Anyway, it's all on my darling Shika-kun. Right, honey?" Ino smiled 'sweetly' at her poor boyfriend.
"Uh..Uhh…Ri-right…" Shikamaru replied hastily, cringed inwardly upon seeing the evil glint in his girlfriend's eyes. Women are so troublesome.
"All right, let's go then!" Ino smiled at the satisfactory answer and continued to drag Sakura out of the door.
Phew, finally finished the first chapter. Sasuke will make his first appearance in the next chapter, which will be due in a very long time. Actually, this is supposed to be a Sasu/Saku/Ita fic, no proper plan yet, I'm just forming the story as I go along.
Review if you liked my story. Arigatou Gozaimasu to all those who reviewed.